Sometimes achingly snooty, but in his stride Korda brings an engagingly lofty hand, both intimate and erudite, to the horses...

HORSE PEOPLE

SCENES FROM THE RIDING LIFE

In this catalogue of horses and horse folk who have passed through the author’s life, the animals possess tactility while the people are simply too-too.

For someone who has “always tried to avoid a single-minded obsession about horses,” veteran editor and author Korda (Another Life, 1999, etc.) has certainly spent a fair amount of time around the beasts and has thought long, hard, and well about their place in the world, in particular their relationship to humans. So he can be counted among those people who “love horses, or who know horses, or who make their living out of horses, or who just can’t imagine what their lives would be like without horses.” Korda’s hungry curiosity to get into a horse’s head and his interest in the social history of equestrianism give Horse People its charm and energy. He tells us much here about conformation and disposition, pasterns that are too long, the irregularity of hooves, fitting “within the square,” enveloping all of it in a sense of affection. Less attractive is the depthless snobbishness of this world inhabited by the super-well-groomed super-rich, “old-school, good-looking, soft-spoken, wealthy, with perfect manners and a wardrobe full of the kind of country clothes Ralph Lauren has since made a fortune imitating.” (Not that they don’t have their travails: “Sheila, like many horse people, had given way to globalism, in the sense that the bulk of her barn help was Mexican.”) A moderate windiness is excusable considering the sheer volume of material, but not such perfume-thick, studied prose as the “flash of orange, moving slowly” and “somewhere there is a picture of me on a small, shaggy pony at the age of about six,” especially when the photo is reproduced a half-inch below.

Sometimes achingly snooty, but in his stride Korda brings an engagingly lofty hand, both intimate and erudite, to the horses that have shaped his life. (17 line drawings by the author, 24 b&w photos)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-621252-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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